On Tuesday, the Romney campaign went into a tailspin as Mother Jones posted videos of Mitt Romney speaking candidly to wealthy donors a closed fundraiser in May. Immediately, there was speculation about who had released the tape. A jaded Republican millionaire? Maybe a donor Romney personally slighted as the campaign went on?
Or maybe a hardworking member of Romney’s moocher class?
When I was rewatching the tapes a few days later, I realized what exactly I was seeing. I literally gasped that I hadn’t realized originally what I was looking at. What I had thought was another donor table with chairs was actually just a shiny surface, and what I was looking at was actually the backs of chairs where donors were sitting. Then, a server came up and dropped off an unopened bottle of wine and some napkins. The surface wasn’t a table, it was a bar. Which means that someone working the event is the one who released it.
And that’s the conundrum of Romney and his rich friends. You may be able to spend over $1 billion on your presidential campaign, you may be able to lobby for legislation that lets you do whatever you want, and you can store as much money as you want in offshore accounts, but you still need people to work at your events, clean your house, and serve you your food. As someone who used to wait tables, I can vouch for the fact that you will hear your share of reprehensible nonsense from your patrons. And you have to just smile and pretend you didn’t hear anything that personally insults you or makes your stomach churn. If I had a dollar for every sexist joke at my expense that I had to laugh at while waiting tables, I definitely could have cut back my hours at the restaurant.
For Mitt Romney to be saying, in absolute seriousness, that people who don’t pay income tax are lazy jobless moochers while surrounded by people who are literally working and very well may not pay income tax just goes to show how truly out of touch he is. Many of those people bringing drinks and food to Romney and his guests probably don’t pay income tax, and probably also have supplemental jobs. It’s not surprising that one of them couldn’t stand to listen to that drivel, and it’s less surprising the person who took the video originally posted it under Rachel Maddow’s name instead of their own. That’s just another grueling part of working in the service industry: you may hate your job and get taken advantage of or abused by your boss and your customers, but in the end you still need the job.
Marc Leder, the billionaire whose mansion hosted this event — as well as some orgies that sound way more fun than this fundraiser — has already expressed his suspicion that the tape was released by someone who worked for the event rather than a rogue millionaire. He is apparently “narrowing down suspects” and planning to sue because the customer is always right — even when they’re so clearly wrong.
Hopefully if this crafty caterer turned citizen activist is found out and pursued by the wrathful host, servers and progressives alike will rally to have their back. And maybe before the next “secret closed” event, Romney and his friends should watch Waiting and learn that cardinal rule: don’t f–k with the people who handle your food.
They probably have cell phones.